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UK Businesses Hit a ‘Brick Wall’ as Brexit Dents Exports - BLOOMBERG

DECEMBER 22, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Brexit has damaged the ability of UK companies to compete in the European Union, with businesses “banging their heads against a brick wall,” according to a survey from the British Chambers of Commerce.

The report published Wednesday found that more than three-quarters of firms said a deal struck two years ago to ease trade with the EU was not helping them increase sales or expand their businesses. 

It cites Siteright Construction Supplies Ltd., a manufacturer in Dorset, as saying that importing parts to fix broken machines or bringing in raw materials from the EU had become a “major time-consuming nightmare.”

“Brexit was the biggest ever imposition of bureaucracy on business,” according to Siteright.

Nova Dog Chews in Ayrshire, Scotland, said leaving the EU had made it uncompetitive with its EU customers. 

“We would have lost all of our EU trade without a base in the EU,” the company said. “This has cost our business a huge amount of money which could have been invested in the UK had it not been for Brexit.”

Goods Shortage 

The survey of 1,168 businesses was published almost two years after the UK signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to allow post-Brexit tariff-free trade. Four out of five firms surveyed have found that the cost of importing has increased since then, while three-quarters of manufacturers say they’ve experienced shortages of goods and services. 

More than half of firms surveyed said they had faced difficulties adapting to the new rules, and 77% said the Brexit deal had not helped them increase sales or expand their businesses. 

The long-term competitiveness of the UK could be “seriously damaged” without honest dialogue about improving the trading relationship with the EU, said Shevaun Haviland, director-general of the BCC. 

“Businesses feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall as nothing has been done to help them, almost two years after the TCA was first agreed,” Haviland said. “The longer the current problems go unchecked, the more EU traders go elsewhere and the more damage is done.”


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